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Famitsu - Issue 1.jpg
Cover art for the first issue of Famitsū magazine (then known as Famicom Tsūshin), June 1986. The Atari 2600 controller and the Family Computer controller can be seen on the cover.
Categories Video game
FrequencyWeekly / Monthly
FormatPaper and online magazine
Circulation 500,000 (Shūkan)
120,000 (Entamikusu)
80,000 (Connect! On)
40,000 (DS+Wii) [1]
Publisher ASCII (1986–2000)
Enterbrain (2000–2013)
Kadokawa (2013–2017)
Gzbrain (2017–2019)
Kadokawa Game Linkage (2019–present)
First issueJune 1986;37 years ago (1986-06) (as Famicom Tsūshin)
Country Japan
Based in Tokyo
Language Japanese
Website famitsu.com

Famitsu, [lower-alpha 1] formerly Famicom Tsūshin, [lower-alpha 2] is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Kadokawa Game Linkage (previously known as Gzbrain), a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū, [lower-alpha 3] the original Famitsu publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan. [2] [3] [4] From October 28, 2011, the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly. [5] [6]


The name Famitsu is a portmanteau abbreviation of Famicom Tsūshin; [lower-alpha 4] the word "Famicom" itself comes from a portmanteau abbreviation of "Family Computer" (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System), the dominant video game console in Japan when the magazine was first published in the 1980s.


Login ( ログイン ), a computer game magazine, started in 1982 as an extra issue of ASCII , and later it became a periodic magazine. Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 5] was a column in Login, focused on the Famicom platform, and ran from March 1985 to December 1986 issue. It received a good reception, so the publisher decided to found the magazine specialized for it. [7] [8]

The first issue of Famitsu was published on June 6, 1986, as Famicom Tsūshin. [9] It sold less than 200,000 copies, despite 700,000 copies printed. The major competitor was Family Computer Magazine launched in July 1985 by Tokuma Shoten. Famitsu's editor found many readers had multiple game consoles, and they thought it would be better if the magazine covered various platforms. Increasing contents and the page count gradually, the magazine was published three times per month instead of semimonthly publication. On July 19, 1991 (issue #136) the magazine was renamed to Shūkan Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 6] and issues were published weekly thereafter. Alongside the weekly magazine, a monthly version called Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 7] was also published.

Hirokazu Hamamura, an editor-in-chief (1992-2002), felt the beginning of a new era when he saw a private demonstration of Final Fantasy VII in 1993. He thought the name Famicom Tsūshin should be refurbished. At the start of 1996 (with issue #369) the magazines underwent another name change, truncating their titles to Shūkan Famitsū [lower-alpha 8] and Gekkan Famitsū. [lower-alpha 9] The name Famitsu had already been in common use. [8]

The magazine was published by ASCII from its founding through March 2000 when it was sold to Enterbrain, which published it for 13 years, until their parent company Kadokawa published it from 2013 to 2017. Since 2017, Kadokawa's subsidiary Gzbrain has been publishing the magazine, while in 2019 the company changed its name to Kadokawa Game Linkage. [6]

Shūkan Famitsū and Gekkan Famitsū

Famicom Tsūshin initially focused on the Famicom platform, but later it featured multi-platform coverage. Famicom Tsūshin was renamed to Famitsu in 1995. Shūkan Famitsū is a weekly publication concentrating on video game news and reviews, and is published every Thursday with a circulation of 500,000 per issue. [1] Gekkan Famitsū is published monthly.

Necky the Fox

Famitsu covers alternately feature pop idols or actresses on even-numbered issues and the Famitsu mascot, Necky [lower-alpha 10] the Fox [10] in odd-numbered issues. [11] Year-end and special editions all feature Necky dressed as popular contemporary video game characters. Necky is the cartoon creation of artist Susumu Matsushita, and he takes the form of a costumed fox. [12] The costumes worn by Necky reflect current popular video games. Necky's name was chosen according to a reader poll, and it derives from a complex Japanese pun: "Necky" is actually the reverse of the Japanese word for fox, キツネ, [lower-alpha 11] and his original connection to Famicom Tsūshin is intended to evoke the bark of the fox, the Japanese onomatopoeia of which is コンコン [lower-alpha 12] . [13] Necky makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker . [14]

Special-topic Famitsu publications

Famitsu publishes other magazines dedicated to particular consoles. Currently in circulation are:

Former special topics

Famitsu spin-offs that are no longer in circulation include:


Video games are graded in Famitsu via a "Cross Review" by having four critics each assign the game a score from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. The scores are then added together. As of 2023, twenty-nine games have received perfect scores of 40 from Famitsu. The console with the highest number of perfect-scoring games is the PlayStation 3, with seven total. Four of the perfect-scoring games on PlayStation 3 were also released on the Xbox 360, which is tied with the Wii for the second-highest number of perfect scores at five total. Franchises with multiple perfect score winners include The Legend of Zelda with five titles, Metal Gear with three titles, and Final Fantasy with two titles. The most recent game to receive a perfect score is Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth . [15]

As of 2023, all but three games with perfect scores are from Japanese companies, ten being published/developed by Nintendo, four by Square Enix, three by Sega, three by Konami and one by Capcom. As of 2023, the only three completely foreign games to achieve a perfect score are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks, Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games, and Ghost of Tsushima by Sucker Punch Productions. Other foreign games that have achieved near-perfect scores are Grand Theft Auto IV , Red Dead Redemption , L.A. Noire , and Red Dead Redemption 2 , all by Rockstar Games; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , Call of Duty: Black Ops , and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 , all by Activision (but published by Square Enix in Japan); Gears of War 3 by Epic Games; and The Last of Us Part II and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End by Naughty Dog. Kingdom Hearts II , another game with a near-perfect score, was a joint effort between Japanese developer Square Enix and American developer Disney Interactive Studios.


Famitsu administers the Famitsu awards. Video games receive a number of different awards in categories like Innovation, Biggest Hit, Rookie Award, Highest Quality, etc. One or two "Game of the Year" awards are granted as the top prize. Top prize winners are determined by a combination of critical and fan review scores as well as sales figures.

Relationship with other magazines

UK trade magazine MCV and Famitsu have an exclusive partnership which sees news and content from each magazine appear in the other. [16]

See also


  1. Japanese: ファミ通, Hepburn: Famitsū
  2. Japanese: ファミコン通信, Hepburn: Famitsū
  3. Japanese: 週刊ファミ通, lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
  4. Japanese: ファミコン通信, officially translated as Famicom Journal
  5. Japanese: ファミコン通信, lit. "Famicom News"
  6. Japanese: 週刊ファミコン通信, lit. "Weekly Famicom News"
  7. Japanese: 月刊ファミコン通信, lit. "Monthly Famicom News"
  8. Japanese: 週刊ファミ通, lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
  9. Japanese: 月刊ファミ通
  10. Japanese: ネッキー, Hepburn: Nekkī
  11. Japanese: kitsune
  12. Japanese: "kon kon"
  13. Japanese: エンタミクス
  14. Japanese: オトナファミ
  15. Japanese: ファミ通コネクト!オン
  16. Japanese: ファミ通DS+Wii
  17. Japanese: ファミ通GREE
  18. Japanese: ファミ通Mobage
  19. Japanese: ファミ通ブロス
  20. Japanese: ファミコミ
  21. Japanese: ファミ通DC
  22. Japanese: ファミ通Sister
  23. Japanese: サテラビュー通信
  24. Japanese: バーチャルボーイ通信
  25. Japanese: ファミ通PS
  26. Japanese: ファミ通WaveDVD
  27. Japanese: ファミ通Xbox

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1995 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Dragon Quest VI, Mega Man 7, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and Tekken 2, along with new titles such as Mario's Picross, Battle Arena Toshinden, Chrono Trigger, Rayman, Soul Edge, Twisted Metal, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Destruction Derby, Wipeout and Jumping Flash!

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1987 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Dragon Quest II, Final Lap, and Zelda II, along with new titles such as After Burner, Contra, Double Dragon, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Metal Gear, Operation Wolf, Phantasy Star, Shinobi, Street Fighter and The Last Ninja. The Legend of Zelda was also introduced outside of Japan.

1986 saw many sequels and prequels in video games, such as Super Mario Bros. 2, along with new titles such as Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Castlevania, Dragon Quest, Ikari Warriors, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Out Run and R.B.I. Baseball. The year's highest-grossing arcade video games were Hang-On in Japan, Hang-On and Gauntlet in the United States, and Nemesis (Gradius) in London. The year's best‑selling home system was the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom) for the third year in a row, while the year's best-selling home video games in Western markets were Super Mario Bros. in the United States and Yie Ar Kung-Fu in the United Kingdom.

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